• The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy at the Block in Redfern, Sydney is captured on August 27, 2015, the morning of the announcement of a $70 million federal government deal that will ensure the construction of 62 homes for Indigenous families. (AAP Image/NEWZULU/RICHARD ASHEN). (newzulu.com)Source: newzulu.com
The Aboriginal Housing Company said Tuesday it signed a compromise deal over low-income housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at the Block in Redfern.
By
Danny Teece-Johnson

Source:
NITV News
1 Sep 2015 - 10:40 AM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2015 - 4:36 PM

The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) told NITV News it has signed a document worked on by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy's Jenny Munro to secure finances for low-income housing for Indigenous peoples at the Block in Redfern.

This agreement guarantees that the AHC's Pemulwuy Project will build 62 affordable houses for low-income Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at the Block.

The project's planned commercial development will be constructed simultaneously.

Last week Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the federal government would contribute $5 million to low-income housing at the iconic landmark in the Sydney suburb.

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The ball is now in the court of the Aboriginal Housing Company CEO Mick Mundine to sign off on a deal to finance low-income Housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the Block.

"Everybody wants on Aboriginal land, affordable housing for Aboriginal people, that’s what they decided to do with the block, and I think that they have a much higher level of confidence that that’s going to happen," Mr Scullion told NITV News.

The federal grant will see the company secure $65 million in bank finance to proceed with its project.

For 15 months, the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy has protested the Aboriginal Housing Company's plans for a major commercial and residential development, a scheme that provided only minimal low-cost housing, amounting to a rejection of the reason why former Labor Leader Gough Whitlam first gave the land back to the community in 1972.

Jenny Munro, founder of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy, at the Supreme Court in Sydney to celebrate a $70 million federal government deal ensure 62 homes for Indigenous families at the Block in Redfern.

The embassy protesters had been concerned that the commercial development might take priority and that affordable housing might not eventuate.

But the AHC had argued that commercial developments such as shops and offices needed building to help fund the housing.

In 2014 the AHC said that the tent embassy protesters were on AHC-owned land and that it was working to "protect The Block" to ensure it remained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned and controlled.

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Explainer: Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy and Aboriginal Housing Company dispute
The Aboriginal Housing Company's plan to develop retail space and affordable housing on 'The Block,' in Sydney, has been opposed by members of the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy. NITV takes a look at the history of the dispute.

The AHC website said that Aboriginal people were at risk of losing their land to the NSW government if crime and drugs were allowed to thrive in the area, which would give the government reason to justify its "position on forcible acquisition of 'The Block'."

The federal grant will see the company secure $65 million in bank finance to proceed with its Pemulwuy Project.